Updated: 3/25/2007; 10:27:05 AM.


on personal productivity in knowledge-intensive environments, weblog research, knowledge management, PhD, serendipity and lack of work-life balance...
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  Friday, August 23, 2002

  Lessons learned from a large-scale K-logging implementation

Sebastien Paquet in "A K-log is..." and lessons learned from a large-scale K-logging implementation:

Funny how so many people (myself included) have been talking about K-logs in the absence of an explicit definition. Yesterday, in my referers, I found a google search on the phrase "A K-log is". Follow the link and see how pitiful the results are. But the last result, on the second page, is actually the best one, and helped me find a very interesting (but sadly, abandoned) weblog.

"A K-log is a knowledge-management weblog, where you use weblogging tools (like Blogger, Manila, or Radio) to write about your work, what happens, and what you know about. Presumably everybody else does too -- or some reasonable portion of "everybody else". Then you might use RSS to aggregate all this content, and you have the core of a knowledge management system." writes Pete Harbeson.

Now that's the kind of definition I like: to the point and understandable. I'm putting that in my knowledge repository.

OK. Here comes the part where you should pay attention, because this is the first time I've seen something like this since I've been following the K-log world, and it seem pretty relevant. Pete has experience with implementing k-logging in a large company. He says:

"It turns out that I've been building a system to do this for the past year or so. It's not yet very distributed throughout my client's company (yet), but we've reached about 1.7 million hits on a site that's available only behind a corporate firewall. It's a big company, but not that big. We've also found that other groups in the same company are doing similar things; this is clearly something an organization needs when it reaches a certain level of complexity.

I've learned a few lessons along the way, with (I'm sure) many more to come. They are:

  • Posting the information is a small problem. Organizing and retrieving it is a big problem. We're working on a shared ontology and RDF metadata.
  • Most people don't like to write. We've had a difficult time designing interfaces that encourage adding information instead of just reading.
  • There's no substitute for good, accessible writing. We have several people who write consistently for the system. The logs show that postings from one writer get far more attention and prompt far more linking than those from the other writers. "

All three points confirm the intuitions I had. The rest of his blog ("On explaining and explanations") is also very interesting and well-written (Lilia, you should definitely have a look at it). I really hope Pete comes back to blogging soon. Looks like he'd have a lot to contribute.

  Asking questions Came via SynapShots: Learning How to Ask Powerful, Probing Questions
More on: asking questions 

  e-learning, KM, HRD - where am I belonging?

Came via elearningpost - Building Communities--Strategies for Collaborative Learning

First thought: nice, finally Learning Circuits write something about communities.

Second thought: it is only about learning communities, not communities of practice. Do they know about all KM experiences in this area? Are they starting from scratch?

Third thought: I identified myself with KM camp. Half a year back I was in e-learning camp. I’m definitely looking for some bridges.

Last thought: And there is HRD (human resources development) camp as well. I want bridges...

Follow-up thought: I promise to add two things to my blog - my bio with interests and my PhD ideas. Within one month.

More on: e-learning KM KM&learning 

  Differences between teaching and knowledge sharing (2)

Follow-up for You cannot make people smarter:

Not every organisation believes that, e.g. the amount of money spent each year on training that doesn't work.

I was curious to browse links a bit. Nanette Miner says about three reasons:

  1. The training is created by individuals with limited experience and background in the field of training and development.
  2. The training is created by subject matter experts.
  3. The training is designed without clearly thought-out objectives.

I guess, there are more reasons, but I'd like to focus on one of them: why subject matter experts are not good in creating training (formatting is mine).

The misguided logic of the Paulette Principle is this: If you are good at what you do, you must be able to teach others to do it. Training designed by subject matter experts spells disaster in one of two ways:

(1) Basic information is left out because the subject matter expert does not recognize what basic means anymore, or

(2) the subject matter expert is so hot on their topic that every possible nuance of the topic is included in the training.

It illustrates my idea about differences between teaching and knowledge sharing. Even if someone wants to share knowledge, it's not necessary that he can help others to learn.

  More on connections between learning and teaching To teach is to learn by Curiouser and curiouser!

What an excellent question: "What connections exist between learning and teaching?"

To sides of the same coin?  Not sure.  Rather I see that when you care about teaching something to someone you make a commitment that requires deep understanding to fulfil.  The act of committing to teaching is the act of committing to understanding, to learning.

As an example Stephen Covey advises everyone who wants to learn about the 7 habits of highly effective people to begin teaching it within 24 hours of starting to learn.  Of course I had no-one to hand so I had to use my cats.  Have you ever tried teaching a cat to "Think win-win"?  Go on, I dare you!

Maybe this is why I find the 7-habits so hard...

I love this example :)

  Klogs as a reporting tool

Lunch break: switching from work to reflection...

Curiouser and curiouser! in You cannot make people smarter:

Thanks to [DG] for putting me on to Mathemagenic.

"You cannot make people smarter."

I believe this to be true.  However I also think that:

  1. Not every organisation believes that, e.g. the amount of money spent each year on training that doesn't work.
  2. Not every organisation cares how smart it's people are (no matter how much they spend on investors in people logos)

Probably, those who don't believe in smart people, don't believe in KM as well... Or, believe that good IT infrastructure will solve KM problems.

My fear is that klogging will only thrive in organisations that are healthy, and that there may not be enough of them.  Or, worse, that klogging will thrive as a control mechanism imposed by insecure and fearful management.  I don't want to be a part of that.

I don't think that klogging could be imposed: in "no trust culture" even if someone asks me what I'm thinking about, I can always say something else. If imposed, klogs can only capture formal activities, that in many cases go to all kinds of reports in any case.

Klogs can turn in a new kind of reporting tool. This could be not so bad if it replaces all other reports. If we think about klogs as project management tool, why not to extent it to the reporting tool?

Finally, I would put it broader: I don't want to be a part of unhealthy (in cultural sense) organisation. I simply wouldn't be able to realise my ambitions in this case.

More on: blogs in business KM 

  Differences between teaching and knowledge sharing

I wonder about the differences between teaching and knowledge sharing (corporate context). My rough version:

  • Sharing = get it out of my head to let others learn
  • Teaching = make sure that others learn

The second one requires a bit more skills, but I think that ideally “knowledge sharing=teaching”: I’m open for others, I spot their needs and I make sure that they can learn from my experience.

Related: BRINT discussion teaching skills for everyone?

  Learning and knowledge sharing (2)

Seb's Open Research: on Learning, sharing, and doing both:

... I wonder what connections exist between learning and teaching, or, in KM context, between learning and sharing. Are those who dare to share and eager to learn are the same people? Are these two sides of the same coin? May be it’s a coincidence in my case :-) [Mathemagenic]

I believe that all sharers are learners. However from my experience there are perhaps five to ten times more people who can learn but won't teach than there are people who'll do both. The implication would be that you can only klog 10-20% of an organization. But watch the generation of kids who are going to grow up with the medium.

And Matt Mower follow-up in Can teach. Won't teach.

I'd be interested in any conjecture about the, possibly many, reasons why those people won't teach?

Teaching is a tricky term: it has too much to do with school and formal settings. I would look for something short with meaning intentional facilitation of learning instead of teaching. But so far I continue to use teaching…

So, why people don't teach? I guess the main reason is the they can't imagine themselves as school teachers.

Ok, why people don't share? Some answers could be found in reasons for not sharing and BRINT discussion about knowledge sharing incentives. I would summarise it simply: people don't see the fun and the value of sharing (for a variaty of reasons), or don't have right skills and right environment to support knowledge sharing.

But I still have a feeling that the answers are not here yet... I hope we will get the topic of motivation for knowledge sharing in our research agenda.

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© Copyright 2002-2007 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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